2014 MVC Tournament: Notes and Links

    Taylor Orsburn led the MVC in ERA in 2014 at 2.27.

    Taylor Orsburn led the MVC in ERA in 2014 at 2.27.
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    May 7, 2014

    SIU (28-23, 15-11 MVC) at 2014 MVC Tournament
     Date May 8-10, 2014
     Schedule Bracket
     Location Normal, Ill. -- Marian Kneer Stadium
     Potential SIU Games Quarterfinal (Game 4): SIU vs. Loyola/Drake // May 8 // 6:35 p.m.
    Semifinal (Game 6): Winner G4 vs. Illinois State // May 9 // 2:35 p.m.
    Championship Game (Game 7): Winner G6 vs. Wichita State/Bradley/UNI/Missouri State // May 10 // 2:35 p.m.
     Live Stats for Potential SIU Games Quarterfinal | Semifinal | Championship
     Radio Quarterfinal
    : FM-105.1 WVZA (Bryce Williams play-by-play)
    : AM-1300 WFRX (Bryce Williams play-by-play)
    : AM-1300 WFRX (Bryce Williams play-by-play)
    *NOTE: Day games broadcast on AM-1300 WFRX; Night Games broadcast on FM-105.1 WVZA or FM-97.7
     Live Stream Quarterfinal and Semifinal: Valley Live (R.C. McBride (play-by-play) & Laura Leonard (analyst)) | Championship: ESPN3.com (Outside MVC's five-state footprint of IL, IN, IA, KS and MO)
     TV Quarterfinal and Semifinal: None
    Championship: MVC TV (FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Indiana, FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX College Sports, Comcast SportsNet Chicago), with RC McBride (play-by-play) and Laura Leonard (analyst)
     Live Audio Saluki All-Access: Quarterfinal | Semifinal | Championship
     Preview Interviews Blaylock | Spivey | Orsburn
     Game Notes Southern Illinois | MVC
     Season Stats Southern Illinois | MVC
     Tournament Central 2014 MVC Softball Tournament Central
     Social Media @SIU_Softball   |  @SIU_Softball   |  Saluki Softball 

    The Salukis head to Normal, Ill., for the MVC Tournament on May 8-10. The tournament is hosted by Illinois State. Southern Illinois is the No. 3 seed in the tournament and will face the winner of the Drake/Loyola winner at 6:35 CST on Thursday, May 8. The tournament features a single-elimination format. All games at the MVC Tournament will be broadcast locally on radio, with SIU's first-round game to be aired on FM-105.1 WVZA in Carbondale with Bryce Williams calling the action.

    Southern Illinois...

    • Is 11-4 in its last 15 games, the second-best mark in the MVC over that time
    • Won five of its last six MVC series to end the year
    • Swept both of its potential opening-game opponents (Drake and Loyola) this year
    • Is 40-53 all-time in the conference tournament
    • Has played 43 one-run games in the conference tournament out of 93 games (46 percent)
    • Is looking for its first MVC Tournament title since 1991
    • Has won at least one game in four-straight MVC Tournaments
    • Is 4-3 in the MVC Tournament over the last four years
    • Has beaten every team in the MVC Tournament field at least once in 2014 except UNI
    • Returns seven players who started both of SIU's games in last year's MVC Tournament
    • Led the MVC in on-base percentage in 2014 and ranked second in runs scored

    Southern Illinois made the conference tournament for the 30th time in the last 31 years and have won at least one game in 23 of its 30 appearances. SIU is 40-53 all-time at the conference tournament, which was the Gateway Conference tournament from 1983-92 and the MVC Tournament from 1993-present, with 43 of those 93 games being one-run games. Every player on the current roster has won at least a game in every year she has played at SIU, with SIU going 4-3 over the last three years. SIU reached the championship game in 2012. In that 2012 title game, Jayna Spivey, Allie VadeBoncouer and Meredith Wilson combined to go 6-for-9, but it wasn't enough to get Southern the win. Spivey and Wilson have put up the best numbers in their MVC Tournament careers, with Spivey hitting .421 over seven games and Wilson hitting .357 over five.

    Southern Illinois was arguable the hottest team in the MVC before stumbling in the last series of the regular season last weekend. SIU played within two games on either side of .500 for the first 40 games of the year, never winning or losing more than three games in a row. After dropping the opening game of the Bradley series, SIU fell to 17-19 overall and 5-7 in the MVC. From there, SIU ripped off seven-straight victories--all of them conference games. Southern's winning streak ended in a loss at Evansville, but the Salukis rebounded to take two of three from league-leading Wichita State the next weekend, making SIU the only team to win a series against Wichita this year. In the last weekend of the year, SIU secured a first-round bye with a doubleheader split against Indiana State before falling on Sunday to end the regular season.

    Did you know?
    Forty-three of SIU's 93 all-time MVC tournament games have been one-run games. Southern's current senior class is 1-1 in one-run games in the MVC Tournament, with both such games coming in the 2012 tournament.

    Jayna Spivey has hit 17 doubles so far in 2014, which leads the MVC and ranks 19th nationally. With the mark, she passed teammate Taylor Orsburn's 15 she hit last season for the most in a single season in school history. Becky Lis had also hit 15 in a season during her 1997 campaign. Spivey actually has hit 18 doubles this season, but her walkoff double vs. Murray State is technically a single; the winning run traveled only one base, so Spivey only received credit for a single on the play. Nonetheless, Spivey's 17 doubles has led the Salukis to a No. 27 ranking nationally in doubles per game. With her big season, Spivey is catching up to Orsburn for career doubles. Orsburn ranks fifth in school history with 39 career doubles; Spivey is right behind her and sixth in school history with 38.

    Taylor Orsburn has 30 RBIs this season, bringing her career total to 137, which ranks second in SIU history and ninth in MVC history. The only other hitter in Southern Illinois history who has more career RBIs than Orsburn is teammate Jayna Spivey, who broke SIU's career record earlier this season and ranks fifth in MVC history with 147 career RBIs.

    With both Spivey and Orsburn in the top-10 in MVC history in career RBIs, Southern Illinois is the only school with teammates in the top-10. With four total players among the top-12 RBI producers in MVC history, Southern has the most players among the MVC's elite RBI producers of any school.

    SIU junior Katie Bertelsen has emerged as the staff ace. In her first seven appearances after MVC play started, Bertelsen had a 1.83 ERA and threw six complete games in her seven starts. She threw a complete-game shutout in the series opener against Drake and allowed more than two earned runs only twice. She went pitch-for-pitch with 2012 MVC Pitcher of the Year Jamie Fisher of UNI in a 10-inning 2-1 loss and backed it up by only allowing six earned runs over her next 24 innings (2.14 ERA). After a rough patch, Bertelsen appears to be back to her dominant ways. She went 4-0 in SIU's seven-game winning streak with a great 2.89 ERA. Most encouraging, she only allowed hitters a .230 average against her in that span, while her season batting average against is at .284. She struck out 10 batters in that streak, as well. She pitched arguably the best game of her career in the series opener against Wichita State. Facing a Shocker lineup that led the MVC in nine offensive categories, Bertelsen allowed just one earned run and limited a Wichita State team that entered the game with a .314 team batting average to 4-for-24 at the plate (.167 average).

    Bertelsen has posted just a 3.19 ERA in MVC play and thrown 14 complete games. She's recorded the W in nine of SIU's 15 conference wins. Although she's SIU's starter, she's also recorded three saves this year. With 12 saves now in her career, Bertelsen ranks sixth in the NCAA in career saves among active players.

    SIU senior first baseman Taylor Orsburn, pitching for the first time in her SIU career, led the MVC in the regular season with a 2.27 ERA in 74 innings this year. She had a 1.95 ERA in her first 32.1 innings. In that span, she allowed hitters just a .242 average against her. To start MVC play, she was even better, posting an 1.21 ERA in her first 17.1 innings, which spanned five appearances. Hitters managed only a .215 average over that time. Orsburn had a 15-inning scoreless streak heading into the seventh inning of SIU's 9-3 win at SLU before giving up an earned run in the blowout. She is a perfect 6-0 in MVC play to go along with a 2.62 ERA in MVC-only games.

    Jayna Spivey earned MVC Player of the Week honors on April 7 after hitting .692 in a week that included a weekend series against Illinois State. At one point, Spivey recorded a hit in seven-consecutive plate appearances and hit a walkoff, two-run double in the series finale to give SIU a 5-4 win. She slugged 1.154 on the week and added a home run and six RBIs on the week.

    A pair of SIU underclassmen earned weekly laurels from the conference after big weeks against Wichita State. Sophomore shortstop Kelsey Gonzalez earned MVC Player of the Week honors after hitting .400 last week and helping SIU to a series win over then-league leader Wichita State. Over the course of a five-game week, Gonzalez slugged .933 and had two home runs and six RBIs for SIU. She became SIU's second Player of the Week this year, joining Jayna Spivey. Shaye Harre, a freshman, earned MVC Newcomer of the Week honors after hitting .471 over the same week with a .706 slugging percentage and .500 on-base percentage with five RBIs. She recorded a five-game hitting streak over the week.

    Kelsey Gonzalez has been Southern's hottest hitter over the past few weeks, raising her season batting average to .326, which is third on the team. Gonzalez is second on the team with 12 multi-hit games. She has hit safely in 24 of the last 35 games and reached base in 27 of those games, raising her batting average nearly 65 points from .262 to .326. In that 35-game stretch, Gonzalez has a .354 batting average to go along with a .416 on-base percentage and .542 slugging percentage.

    Gonzalez's turnaround is remarkable considering she hit just .210 as a freshman in 2013 while starting all 52 games. She hit just one home run as a freshman, too, but she is up to four this year. She hit a three-run blast that started SIU's 9-0, five-inning rout of UT-Martin and another shot to start SIU's 10-3 rout of Wichita State in the second game of last Saturday's doubleheader. She has nearly doubled her slugging percentage from her freshman year; after slugging .261 last year, she's up to .481 this year.

    The hitters in the 3 and 4 spot in the lineup for SIU, Jayna Spivey and Shaye Harre, didn't start the year as they would have liked. In the first 13 games of the year, Spivey was hitting .237 and Harre was hitting .194, good for seventh and 10th on the team, respectively. Since the slow start, though, both players have been dominant. Harre is hitting a team-best .382 in the 38 games since the slow start, and Spivey is right behind her at .380. Both players are slugging identical .636 and have posted on-base percentages north of .490. The pair have combined for 10 home runs and 66 RBIs in the last 38 games

    Kelsea Ashton

    • Started 158 career games and played in 203
    • Led nation with 23 sacrifices in 2012
    • Fifth in SIU history with 37 walks in 2012
    • MVC Scholar-Athlete in 2012
    • NFCA Scholar-Athlete in 2013

    Michelle Glenn

    • Started 53 games in two-year career and played in 92
    • Perfect 17-for-17 in career stolen bases
    • Career .291 hitter
    • Holds 3.864 GPA in elementary education
    • Six multi-hit games in 2014

    Taylor Orsburn

    • Two-time first-team All-MVC honoree
    • All-Mideast Region honoree in 2011
    • MVC RBI champ in 2011 with 49
    • Top-10 in school history in career at-bats, hits, doubles and home runs
    • 10th in SIU history in career home runs

    Jayna Spivey

    • Three-time All-MVC selection
    • SIU career RBI leader with 147, which ranks fifth in MVC history
    • SIU single-season record holder with 17 doubles so far in 2014
    • Two-time first-team MVC Scholar-Athlete selection and two-time Academic All-District selection
    • Ranks in the top-10 in school history in career at-bats, runs, doubles and home runs

    Allie VadeBoncouer

    • Two-time All-MVC selection
    • Started 170 career games
    • MVC RBI champ in 2012 with 51
    • Second in NCAA history with 71 career hit-by-pitches
    • Thrown out 39 career base stealers

    SIU senior Allie VadeBoncouer reached base in 28-straight games in which she has had an at-bat for the Salukis, the longest streak for any SIU player since at least 2003. Her streak started the Boston College game earlier this season and ended in the second game of last weekend's doubleheader with Wichita State--a game in which VadeBoncouer put down three perfect sacrifice bunts to tie a school record. With her walk against UT-Martin, VadeBoncouer passed teammate Taylor Orsburn for the longest such streak since at least 2003. Orsburn reached base in 26-straight games overlapping the 2013 and 2014 seasons, reaching base in the final 23 games of 2013 before reaching base in the first three games of this season.

    VadeBoncouer hit just .217 during her remarkable 28-game reached base streak, but her on-base percentage was .500 during the swing. Her .477 season on-base percentage ranks fourth in the Valley, and she is seeking her second .500 season on-base percentage of her career after getting on base at a .505 clip in 2012.

    Sacrifice flies are rare in softball, with eight sac flies on the year leading the NCAA as of last Monday's stat report. Kelsey Gonzalez has been one of the nation's best at getting a run home from third. With six sac flies, Gonzalez tied one other player for fourth in the NCAA this year in sacrifice flies. If she's not hitting a sac fly, chances are she's still getting the runner home: Gonzalez is hitting .533 (8-for-15) this year with a runner on third and less than two outs.

    SIU freshman Merri Anne Patterson was inserted into the starting lineup for the series at Bradley and wasted no time in making a spark. The Salukis have gone 11-5 since Patterson became a regular starter. She threw out the potential tying run at home in the bottom of the seventh to secure a 7-6 win over Bradley in the second game of the series; her two-run home run in the series finale proved to be the difference in a 6-4 win; and her solo home run in the fifth inning of game one at Wichita was the difference in SIU's 2-1 win. Patterson has hit .314 during her starting tenure, and she has a team-leading 14 RBIs since being inserted into the starting lineup. She has fit right in with SIU's ability to get on base, posting a .442 on-base percentage in those 16 games.

    Jayna Spivey put on a show during her senior campaign in the MVC. The Rosiclaire, Ill., native hit .438 in her 26 MVC games, adding nine doubles, 22 RBIs and a .559 on-base percentage to go along with a .725 slugging percentage. She ranked in the top-six players in the Valley in hits, runs, doubles, RBIs, walks, total bases, batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage during conference play.

    Spivey isn't the only SIU player leaving her mark in conference play. Shaye Harre has nearly hit .400 as a freshman, hitting .368. Kelsey Gonzalez is hitting .307 in 26 MVC games. Kelsea Ashton and Merri Anne Patterson have also been sparks in conference play. Ashton has hit just .128 in non-conference play, but she's hitting .291 in 26 MVC games and drawn eight walks to post a .368 on-base percentage. Patterson was insterted into the starting lineup halfway through the conference season but is hitting .314 with 11 RBIs, and she also has a .442 OBP.

    True freshman Shaye Harre has jumped right in and been one of the best hitters in the conference from the start of her career. Harre ranks in the top-20 nationally among freshman in RBIs per game as of the last NCAA stat report last Monday and, along with Jayna Spivey, has led SIU to the No. 25 rank nationally out of 289 schools in doubles per game. Harre leads the team in home runs (5), RBIs (43) and triples (2), and she's done all that despite hitting just .194 with five RBIs in her first 13 games.

    Harre's 43 RBIs are second among freshmen in SIU history, trailing only teammate Taylor Orsburn's 49 RBI season in 2011. She ranks fifth in the MVC in RBIs this year and ranks in the top-10 in the league on five offensive categories.

    SIU senior Allie VadeBoncouer has been hit by 16 pitches this year. That marks 71 times in her career that VadeBoncouer has been hit by a pitch, second in NCAA history. VadeBoncouer passed Auburn's Myesha Finney (2006-09) for sole possession of second place on the NCAA's all-time HBP list. VadeBoncouer probably will have to settle for second on the list; the NCAA's career leader, Mariah Gearhart of Okahoma State (2008-11) blows away the field with an amazing 92 career HBPs.

    Jayna Spivey and Taylor Orsburn have their names plastered all over the SIU record books. Both players are in the top-10 in school history in career at bats, doubles, home runs, and RBIs. Additionally, Orsburn ranks seventh in career hits while Spivey ranks eighth, and Spivey ranks fourth in career runs scored.

    In the single-season list, Taylor Orsburn's 2011 campaign is now second in doubles (15) after Spivey broke that record earlier this year. Orsburn's 49 RBIs in 2011 rank third in school history, while Spivey's 44 last year rank sixth. Spivey hit 11 home runs in both 2011 and 2013, ranking seventh in school history, and Orsburn hit 10 in 2011, which ranks 10th.

    Southern has led the MVC in free passes in each of the past two seasons. In 2013, SIU combined 259 free bases via walks and hit-by-pitches. The Salukis ranked second behind Illinois State for the MVC's lead in bases on balls with 201, and the Salukis' 58 free bases on hit by pitches was the league leader by 19.

    This year, the Salukis have continued the trend. Southern leads the conference in walks by 30 despite playing the third-fewest games of the 10 MVC teams, leads the league in on-base percentage and ranks third in hit-by-pitches. As a result, the Salukis are second in the conference in runs scored and rank in the top-three in the MVC in several offensive categories.

    SIU broke a school record with 78 doubles as a team this year. The mark breaks the 2007 mark of 77. With 78 doubles, SIU ranks No. 25 nationally and is led by Jayna Spivey, who has a school-record and MVC leading 17 doubles, which ranks 19th nationally.

    SIU's series finale at Missouri State marked her 800th career game, all of which have come at SIU. Blaylock also picked up her 500th career coaching win on March 21, 2013, with SIU's doubleheader sweep of Saint Louis. In her 15th season, she is the second SIU coach and the eighth MVC coach to reach the 500-win milestone. Her career .661 winning percentage is the highest among the MVC's 500-win coaches.

    Jayna Spivey earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors for the second-straight year, the organization announced on Thursday. Spivey, who holds a 3.76 GPA in biological sciences, ranks 19th nationally in doubles and is in the top-10 in the Missouri Valley Conference in 10 offensive categories. Spivey is now eligible for Academic All-America recognition, which will be announced on May 22.

    Senior second baseman Jayna Spivey was named a candidate for the Senior CLASS Award. Spivey was a 2013 Capital One Academic All-District selection and First-Team Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete who holds a 3.761 cumulative GPA in biological sciences. The Rosiclare, Ill. recorded 44 RBI's in 2013 to lead the Missouri Valley Conference, which ties as the sixth-best season in SIU history. She also led SIU with 12 multi-RBI games and ranked second in the MVC with 11 home runs, which is tied for seventh in school history. Thirty NCAA softball student-athletes who excel both on and off the field were selected as candidates for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award® in collegiate softball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

    Lineup Quick Notes
     1 Merri Anne Patterson GW HRs vs. BU & WSU ... Threw out tying run at home to beat BU in G2 ... Team-high 14 RBIs since entering starting lineup
     2 Allie VadeBoncouer 4th in MVC w/ .477 OBP ... 28-game reached-base streak ended G2 @ WSU ... 2nd in NCAA history w/ 71 career HBP (16 in 2014)
     3 Jayna Spivey .438 avg. in MVC play ... Top10 MVC in 10 cat. ... SIU career RBI leader and 5th in MVC history (147) ... MVC-best 17 2Bs
     4 Kelsea Ashton .291 BA in MVC play; .128 avg in non-con ... Played in all 51 games, starting 48 at 3b ... Team-best 12 sacrifices
     5 Lacey Newbold Has played in 43 games, primarily as a pinch runner ... 7-for-8 in stolen bases ... Scored 18 runs
     6 Jessa Thomas Played in 9 games and started 8 ... Has not committed an error ... Looking for her first career hit (5 ABs so far)
     7 Kelsey Gonzalez 3rd on team with .326 BA ... Reached base in 27 of last 35G ... 6 Sac Flys (4th nationally) ... .354 avg last 32G
     10 Caylee Cook Played in 34 games, starting 17 ... Has hit 2 HR and 3 doubles ... .385 success advancing runners
     11 Michelle Glenn .290 average and .408 OBP ... Team-best 15-15 SB ... 17-17 career SB ... Hitting .469 leading off an inning (15-32)
     12 Kalyn Harker .312 avg. ... .360 avg. w/ RISP ... 14-15 SB ... 34 career SB ... Only 1 career error (194 PO)
     17 Kara Kimball Played in 41 games, primarily as a pinch runner ... 4-5 SB ... Scored 17 runs
     20 Taylor Orsburn .263 avg & MVC-best 2.27 ERA ... 2nd in SIU history in RBIs (137), 5th in 2B (39) & 10th in HRs (21) ... 2 Grand Slams ... .351 last 14G
     24 Alyssa Wunderlich 3-4 record ... 5.41 ERA ... 33.2 IP ... 19 SO ... Went 4.2 IP scoreless 3/8 vs. St. Joseph's
     25 Shaye Harre .382 avg & 38 RBIs in last 38 games ... 5th in MVC in RBIs (43) ... .647 avg. w/runner on 3rd & LT 2 outs ... On 10G reached streak
     27 Katie Bertelsen 1.83 ERA in 7app. (6CG) from 3/15-4/1 ... Held WSU to 1ER and 4-24 (.167) ... Tm-best 14 Ws ... 6th in NCAA career SV among active plyrs (12)
     28 Taylor Harris Played in 31 games and started 11 ... In a 1-25 slump ... Singled and scored in G3 vs. Drake ... 3-15 as pinch hitter
     33 Meredith Wilson Preseason All-MVC ... Hitting .333 last 14G ... GW 1B vs. LUC ... 13 2-out RBIs ... 3-3, 3RBI in G2 @ WSU
     40 Brook Womack Has played in 21 games, starting 5 ... Has scored 5 R and has 1 RBI
      Team 23-3 with 6+ runs; 5-20 with 0-5 runs ... .339 team BA in wins; .203 BA in losses ... Won 10 of last 14 MVC games
     HC Kerri Blaylock Coached her 800th career game--all at SIU--on March 30 @ Missouri St. ... Highest Win% among MVC 500-win coaches

    The official Twitter of Saluki softball is @SIU_Softball. This account features team news as well as live in-game updates. Fans can also follow Saluki Athletics @SIUSalukis for news on all SIU sports. SIU softball has a new Facebook fan page at Facebook.com/SalukiSoftball. Fans who like the page will get links to follow games, promotions, and photos from the season.

    Coverage for every Saluki softball game is available online though Saluki All-Access at www.SIUSalukis.com/allaccess. A live audio stream will be available for every game and live video will be available for all home games. Saluki All-Access also has on-demand content for all 18 Saluki sports.